Health Alert is a summary of the critical judgments, legislation, press releases and news items which have come to our attention each week.

The summaries contain links to more detailed information and many items of special interest will also contain commentary.

Health Alert is a quick and effective means of ensuring that you are aware of significant recent changes.


New South Wales. Nurses & Midwives Tribunal

HCCC V A NURSE [2010] NSWNMT 31 (15 September 2010)

This case concerns two complaints made against a nurse in relation his ability to practice. In criminal proceedings, the nurse was convicted of two counts of aggravated sexual assault upon his 13 year old step daughter. The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) alleged that this rendered the nurse unfit in the public interest to practice nursing, and was not of good character.

The majority, dismissing the complaints, were not satisfied the nurse was not a person of good character at the time of the proceedings and that current positive aspects of his character outweigh the gravity of his past offences. They took note that his actions were isolated and that he had extensive counselling and therapy. They were satisfied, on the basis of expert opinion, that although there was a low chance that the nurse would put members of the public at risk, this was neither real nor appreciable.

The minority considered that to protect the public interest, conditions should be imposed, preventing the nurse treating people under 18 years of age and informing employers of any conditions. In any event, this was not punitive and could later be lifted by the Nurses and Midwives Board.

The Tribunal unanimously agreed to an application by the nurse to suppress his name. Although they agreed with the HCCC that not suppressing the nurse's name has an important role in disciplinary proceedings, this must be balanced with an obligation to protect the victim from further harm.

Western Australia

State of Western Australia v AH [2010] WASCA 172

Statutory interpretation - Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA) - Application for recognition certificate - Interpretation of the words and phrases: 'reassignment procedure', 'gender characteristics', 'physical characteristics' and 'identified' - Beneficial and remedial legislation - Comparison of legislation and case law in other jurisdictions - Relevance of parliamentary debates

This case concerns an appeal by the State of Western Australia regarding a decision by the State Administrative Tribunal ('Tribunal') to issue certificates recognising the reassignment of the gender from female to male of two applicants ('Applicants'), which overturned a decision by the Gender Reassignment Board of Western Australia to refuse the applications. The Applicants had both undergone testosterone treatment and a bilateral mastectomy, but both refused to undergo a hysterectomy as it was not necessary.

The majority, held that the Tribunal's decision should be set aside on the basis that the Applicants did not have 'gender characteristics' of a male as required by section 15(1)(b)(ii) of the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 (WA) (the Act). Under the Act, like in South Australia, there is no specific requirement for surgical reassignment procedure unlike in other jurisdictions. The majority held that the Applicants did not possess any male genital or reproductive physical characteristics and that they retained almost all normal female external genital characteristics and internal reproductive organs. Consequently, they could not be identified by community standards as males despite the fact that they possessed some secondary male physical characteristics.

Buss JA, dismissing the appeal, held that on the creation of the Act, Parliament intended that it should be given a liberal interpretation. Therefore, despite the fact that the Applicants have not undergone surgery for phalloplasty, a person who has undergone female to male transgender procedure(s) may be entitled to the issue of a recognition certificate.



Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Accommodation Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02481 - Health - This Determination sets out a method for working out the amount of the accommodation supplement and sets the maximum rate of accommodation supplement for a service that either meets or does not meet building requirements with effect from 20 September 2010.

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Concessional Resident Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02482 - Health - This Determination sets the concessional resident supplement rate for concessional and assisted residents with effect from 20 September 2010.

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Pensioner Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02483 - Health - This Determination sets the amount of pensioner supplement with effect from 20 September 2010 and also revokes Aged Care (Residential care subsidy - amount of pensioner supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 1).

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Respite Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02484 - Health - This Determination sets the amount of respite supplement with effect from 20 September 2010.

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Transitional Accommodation Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02485 - Health - This Determination sets the increased maximum amount of transitional accommodation supplement with effect from 20 September 2010 and also revokes Aged Care (Residential care subsidy - amount of transitional accommodation supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 1).v

Aged Care (Residential Care Subsidy - Amount of Transitional Supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02486 - Health - This Determination sets the amount of transitional supplement with effect from 20 September 2010 and also revokes Aged Care (Residential care subsidy - amount of transitional supplement) Determination 2010 (No. 1).

User Rights Amendment Principles 2010 (No. 2) - F2010L02480 - Health - These Principles specify the maximum daily accrual amount of accommodation charge for specified types of post-2008 reform residents.


Australia. Department of Health & Ageing

Media releases

  • 13 September 2010 - Final Statement for Minister for Sport - Kate Ellis has welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement that she will serve as Minister for Employment Participation and Child Care and as Minister for the Status of Women in the Australian Government.
  • 11 September 2010 - Statement from Minister for Health and Ageing - Minister for Health and Ageing Nicola Roxon said she was pleased and honoured to continue leading the Government's ambitious health reform agenda to deliver better health services for all Australians.

Aged care

Australia. Therapeutic Goods Administration

National Coordinating Committee on Therapeutic Goods membership (updated)

TGA prescription medicine streamlined submission process - Q&A (updated)

Australian Institute of Health & Welfare

Assisted reproductive technology in Australia and New Zealand 2008 - In 2008, there were 61,929 assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment cycles undertaken in Australia and New Zealand. Of these cycles, 17.2% resulted in a live delivery (the birth of at ... Published 17 September 2010.

National Bowel Cancer Screening Program : annual monitoring report 2009 data supplement 2010 - The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program annual monitoring report 2009 presented estimated national statistics on key program activity, performance and outcome indicators for people invited to screen in 2008. Using ... Published 15 September 2010.

Hospital separations due to injury and poisoning, Australia 2005-06 - This report provides statistics on hospitalised cases of injury in Australia in 2005-06. In that year: - more than 370,000 cases of hospitalised injury occurred in the community - these ... Published 14 September 2010.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Services Report, 2008-09: OATSIH Services Reporting - Key Resultsv - The main findings from the 2008-09 OATSIH Services Reporting data collection show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander: - primary health care services provided 2.1 million episodes of health care ... Published 13 September 2010.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency

Update for international nurses - 14 Sep 2010 Statement from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia

Australian Capital Territory. Department of Health

Media releases

New South Wales. Department of Health

Media releases

Policy directives

Information bulletins

Northern Territory. Department of Health & Community Services

Media release

Queensland. Department of Health

Media releases

Queensland Health Healthcare Improvement Awards - 2010 Winners Area of Need (new site)

South Australia. Department of Health

State budget 2010-11 - 16 September 2010 - The South Australian Government's State Budget 2010-2011 includes a total operating expenditure for the Health Portfolio of $4.46 billion – an increase of $424.5 million (or 10.5%) compared with the 2009-2010 budget. read more...

Media releases

  • Port Pirie blood and air levels - Wednesday, 15 September 2010 - Blood lead levels in Port Pirie children improved in the second quarter of 2010 compared to the same period last year. In the second quarter of 2010 there was an improvement of one percent of children with a blood lead level of under 10 micrograms per decilitre compared with the same period last year. Read more...
  • Children's dental health keeps improving - Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - Thanks to a number of strategies implemented by the South Australian Dental Service over the last five years, the dental health of South Australia's children is continuing to improve. Read more...
  • $935,000 spent on upgrades at Waikerie Health Service - Friday, 10 September 2010 - Health Minister John Hill says patients and residents at Waikerie Health Service are benefiting from improvements to their medical services and hospital buildings. Read more...

Tasmania. Department of Health & Human Services

Huon Valley Health Services Advisory Committee - Community Representative (1 position available) - 17 Sep 2010

Victoria. Department of Health

Your Hospitals report released - 13 September 2010 - The twelfth edition of the Your Hospitals report was released today by Health Minister Daniel Andrews. The report provides Victorians with an insight into public hospital performance.

Melbourne's first aged care nurse practitioner - 10 September 2010 - In a metropolitan Melbourne and Northern Health first, Broadmeadows Health Service's Cheryl Donohue has been endorsed as an aged care nurse practitioner.

Cochlear implant milestone for Victoria - 10 September 2010 - Abby Paulet from Gippsland has become the recipient of the 2000th cochlear implant at The Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital.

Health Victoria bulletin - September 2010

Media releases

  • VICTORIAN HOSPITAL BUDGETS IN THE BLACK - Thursday, 16 September 2010 - Victoria's public hospitals have recorded a combined financial surplus for the sixth successive year, Health Minister Daniel Andrews said today.
  • VICTORIA'S NURSES AND MIDWIVES HONOURED- Thursday, 16 September 2010 - The Brumby Labor Government last night recognised some of Victoria's most exceptional and dedicated nurses and midwives.
  • NATIONAL SCIENTISTS CHOOSE VICTORIA FOR RESEARCH - Wednesday, 15 September 2010 - The Brumby Labor Government today welcomed an announcement that Austin Health will become a hub for world-class research into new ways of detecting and treating cancer.
  • TOP ACADEMIC TO LEAD NEW CENTRE FOR DISEASE PREVENTION - Tuesday, 14 September 2010 - Victoria has scored a major coup by recruiting an internationally-recognised academic to lead Australia's first Centre of Excellence in Intervention and Prevention Science to tackle the rise of chronic diseases.
  • CANCER RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP TO HONOUR CLARE OLIVER - Monday, 13 September 2010 - Scientists will be able to apply for a new research fellowship honouring skin cancer campaigner Clare Oliver, the Brumby Labor Government announced today.
  • BIG DROP IN HOSPITAL WAITS AS MORE PATIENTS TREATED - Monday, 13 September 2010 - A major funding blitz on elective surgery has seen Victorian hospitals performing more elective surgery operations than ever before, Health Minister Daniel Andrews said today.
  • $300,000 BOOST TO MARK NATIONAL STROKE WEEK - Monday, 13 September 2010 - The Brumby Labor Government will provide $300,000 to continue a successful campaign encouraging all Victorians to act FAST and remember the warning signs of stroke.
  • GOVERNMENT TO CRACK DOWN ON SOLARIUM OPERATORS - Sunday, 12 September 2010 - Mystery shoppers will be used to catch solarium operators breaking laws that ban people under 18 from their premises under a crackdown announced by the Brumby Labor Government today.

Western Australia. Department of Health

Media releases

United Kingdom. Department of Health

Getting it right for children and young people: Overcoming cultural barriers in the NHS so as to meet their needs

Achieving Equity and Excellence for Children

NHS car parking: response to consultation

The Government response to Law Commission consultation paper 192. Review of the law on adult social care

United States of America. Department of Health & Human Services

September 15, 2010 - HHS awards more than $14 million to support patient-centred outcomes research - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Assistant Secretary for Health, Howard K. Koh, MD, MPH, today announced the award of more than $14.2 million to develop, implement, and test strategies to increase the adoption and dissemination of interventions based on patient-centred outcomes research among racial and ethnic minority populations.

September 14, 2010 - HHS Awards $31 million more for prevention and wellness projects - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced $31 million for awards to ten communities in eight states and one award to a state health department to support public health efforts to reduce obesity and smoking, increase physical activity and improve nutrition.

September 13, 2010 - HHS awards $16.8 million to train public health workforce - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced the award of $16.8 million to support 27 Public Health Training Centres (PHTC) at schools of public health and other public or non-profit institutions across the country.

September 10, 2010 - New funds support rural hospitals' switch to electronic health records - HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today announced nearly $20 million in new technical support assistance to help critical access and rural hospital facilities convert from paper-based medical records to certified electronic health record (EHR) technology. Some 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states and the nationwide Indian Country, headquartered in the District of Columbia, stand to benefit from this assistance, which can help each of them qualify for substantial EHR incentive payments from Medicare and Medicaid.

Australian Medical Association

Health Minister meets GP groups 15 September 2010 - 1:30pm - Health Minister, Nicola Roxon, today met Australia's peak general practice groups to discuss a range of issues that will have an impact on general practice, communities and patients in the Government's second term. The meeting was productive and builds on agreed policy areas from prior to the election and opens up scope for further negotiations and discussions around policies that will better serve local communities and improve patient outcomes.

GP Network News Issue 10, Number 33 - 17 September 2010 17 September 2010 - 12:00pm - Health minister meets GP groups; AMA to host summit on medical intern training crisis; Eligibility for Medicare benefits for dental treatment; AMACGP meeting; Support Family Doctors website; IT offer for AMA members AMA submission on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care legislation 10 September 2010 - 4:00pm - The AMA made a submission on 19 August 2010 to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee inquiry into the National Health and Hospitals Network Bill 2010. The legislation deals with the establishment and operation of the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care.

British Medical Association

Baby P triggers drive for joined-up care - Report finds disorganisation and barriers in the way of protection for vulnerable young people

Don't miss out on secondary royalties - Doctors could be due payments for photocopies or scans of books and articles

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